2-Hour Update: Heavens open as racing resumes at Spa-Francorchamps

31 July 2021

Racing is back underway at the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa following a long full-course yellow/safety car period. Nico Müller leads the way in the #37 Audi Sport Team WRT entry with 120 minutes complete.

The race was neutralised after 22 minutes after a multi-car accident at Raidillon involving Jack Aitken (#114 Emil Frey Racing Lamborghini), Kevin Estre (#21 Rutronik Racing Porsche), Franck Perera (#163 Emil Frey Racing Lamborghini) and Davide Rigon (#71 Iron Lynx Ferrari).

All four drivers were immediately attended by track emergency staff. Perera and Estre were transferred to the medical centre and, following checks, released to rejoin their teams. Aitken and Rigon were taken to hospital for further examinations. Both drivers sustained non-life-threatening injuries. 

The opening 20 minutes had been quiet until the accident, with the full 58-car field making a clean start. Raffaele Marciello (#88 Mercedes-AMG Team AKKA ASP) led away from Mirko Bortolotti (#63 Orange1 FFF Racing Lamborghini), while David Pittard made a flying start in the #34 Walkenhorst Racing BMW to jump from fifth to third. 

When racing resumed after almost one hour of neutralised conditions Marciello continued to lead from Bortolotti, but the deck was shuffled soon after when heavy rain began to fall at Spa-Francorchamps. The leaders attempted to keep running on slicks, but as the rain intensified they were forced to duck into the pits.

This allowed Nico Müller (#37 Audi Sport Team WRT) to move into the lead, the Swiss driver having made an early stop for wet Pirelli rubber. At the two-hour mark he was followed by Ben Barnicoat (#38 JOTA McLaren), while Marciello was third after making quick progress and Bortolotti had recovered to seventh. 

Also of significance was the progress of the #32 Team Audi Sport, which vaulted into the fight for victory as Kelvin van der Linde moved from 55th on the grid to 12th. At two hours Mercedes-AMG crews led in the Silver Cup (#90 Madpanda Motorsport Mercedes-AMG, sixth overall) and Pro-Am (#69 RAM Racing, 26th overall), while the #23 Huber Motorsport Porsche was 39th and leading the Am Cup.